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Apple Ban Puts Unreal Engine Games At Risk: Epic

The future of games using Epic’s Unreal Engine is in doubt, the company says, after Apple escalated its Fortnite feud with Epic by threatening to terminate its developer account.

In a California court filing, the developer asked that Apple be forced to reinstate Fortnite on its store front, as well as blocked from terminating its developer account and tools, which it says will cause it irreparable harm as millions of developers worldwide use its proprietary Unreal Engine to build 3D games.

“The court cannot, on today’s motion, level the playing field against Apple. But the court can order that while its practices are being litigated, Apple cannot retaliate by blocking Fortnite and tools for the Unreal Engine and harm the hundreds of millions who – especially in this time of social distancing – use Epic’s software to play, build and stay connected,” Epic said in its filing.

Should Epic’s developer account be removed, it will no longer be able to sell new apps to customers, cutting off its access to an audience of more than one billion users of iOS and macOS products. It could also result in the removal of its other games, including Shadow Complex Remastered and Battle Breakers.

Apple removed the Fortnite app from its iOS App Store after Epic circumvented its 30 per cent fee on subscriptions and in-app purchases. In response, Epic filed suit, and has also launched a “#FreeFortnite” campaign to encourage its customers to pressure Apple into reversing the decision.

“Epic believes that you have a right to save money thanks to using more efficient, new purchase options,” it said in an FAQ for players. “Apple’s rules add a 30% tax on all of your purchases, and they punish game developers like us who offer direct payment options.”

The campaign also includes a video, titled “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite”, that parodies Apple’s classic “1984” advertisement by casting Apple itself as the totalitarian villain.

The next version of Unreal Engine, Unreal Engine 5, is expected to launch late next year and will support all existing systems including the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

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